CO Ag Commissioner’s Office: Essential Food & Ag Worker Vaccinations Will Begin March 5th

Colorado Agriculture Partners,

On February 26th, Colorado Governor Polis, Brigadier General Scott Sherman and Scott Bookman, Incident Commander with the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) provided a much anticipated announcement that the state will enter Phase 1B.3 of vaccine distribution beginning Friday, March 5. 

As you are likely aware, Phase 1B.3 includes Colorado’s frontline essential workers in food and agriculture–approximately 220,000 individuals statewide. The phase will continue over many weeks and will be dependent on variables including vaccine supply and local county health procedures. 

The Governor’s Office, CDPHE, CDA, and the Colorado Vaccine Equity Outreach Team are working in close partnership to ensure the successful vaccination of Colorado’s food and ag workers. 

Several webinar events with state vaccine experts are being planned to help answer questions. Watch for information coming soon with dates, times and how to join.

Here are some important takeaways from Wednesday’s press conference:

  • Eligible businesses/entities representing frontline essential workers who need assistance connecting with a COVID-19 vaccine provider or making a COVID-19 vaccination plan for their employees or members can get help by completing this form.
  • This presentation was included, with information on vaccine supply estimations, vaccination sites, procedures and more.

While vaccination is voluntary, COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe, highly effective and the key to helping our industry and the world to recover from the pandemic. In addition:

  • The vaccine is free. If an individual is asked to provide financial information it is a scam. 
  • Insurance status will not be used to deny or deprioritize any patient from getting the vaccine.
  • Providers may ask, but they cannot require an individual to provide state-issued or other government-issued ID as a condition to receiving the vaccine.
  • This CDC Employer Vaccination Toolkit for essential workers can help communicate with your employees about the vaccine.
  • A large number of vaccine-related FAQs are answered here.  
  • For the most up-to-date and comprehensive vaccine information, visit the Colorado COVID-19 Vaccine website, or call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926). 

 It is incredibly encouraging to have arrived at this day. Our agriculture industry has remained resilient and determined for the past year, and I am confident we will come back stronger than ever. Please reach out with questions, and we will do our best to get answers for you.

Updated Phase 1B.3 Details From the CO Governor’s Office

Nearly a month ago, Governor Polis announced that the State would begin vaccinating Coloradans in Phase 1B.3 starting in March. Given what the State knows about our vaccine supply, we will be moving forward with these vaccinations in a phased approach that maximizes the doses available and provides access to those who continue to be at risk. 

Starting March 5, 2021, Phase 1B.3 will include:

People age 60 and older

Frontline essential workers in grocery and agriculture

People 16-59 with 2 or more high risk conditions 

To see the full list of classifications for Coloradans eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B.3, go to this link. There are approximately 958,508 Coloradans that are newly eligible for vaccination in the 1B.3 category, so it’s going to take some time before everyone can get their vaccine. For some Coloradans in 1B.3, it could be next week, for others it could be in a few weeks, or even a month, but patience is key to ensuring this phase happens smoothly and efficiently. 

How to Sign Up: Coloradans in Phase 1B.3

This week, the State will provide more detailed information on how eligible Coloradans in Phase 1B.3 can sign up to receive the vaccine. Please find preliminary guidance below:

  • People age 60 or older 
  • If you are 60 or older, you may contact a local vaccine provider listed on this webpage about setting up a vaccine appointment. For more information you may call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By mid March, regional PODs can be utilized by this group to receive their vaccine.
  • Frontline essential agricultural and grocery store workers
  • People in agriculture or meatpacking facilities who work in close contact with many people, especially indoors, may contact their employer about scheduling a vaccine appointment. Cargill Meat Solutions and JBS meat packing plants will be vaccinating their facility employees. If your employer is not offering vaccinations, you may contact a local vaccine provider listed on this webpage. You may be asked to provide a recent pay stub to verify you are in this phase. If you are a small agricultural business that needs help connecting with a provider to vaccinate your employees, please fill out this form.  
  • Frontline essential grocery store workers
  • People who work in grocery stores in close contact with others may schedule a vaccine appointment through their store’s pharmacy. If you work in a grocery store that does not have a pharmacy, you may contact your local public health agency about scheduling a vaccine appointment. You may be asked to provide a recent pay stub to verify you are in this phase. Contact information for each county’s public health agency is listed on this webpage.
  • People age 16-59 with two or more high risk conditions
  • You will be asked to self-attest that you have at least two high risk conditions. People with two or more high risk conditions may contact a local vaccine provider listed on this webpage to find out more about scheduling a vaccine appointment. For more information you may call 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By mid March, regional Community Vaccination Sites can be utilized by this group to receive their vaccine.

Stay Safe and Be Patient

This is one of the largest undertakings that any state – any country – has ever tackled, and getting to where we are today has been no small feat. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before we are through the immediate public health crisis and we cannot let our guard down when it comes to battling this pandemic.

Vaccines are the key to a future without this pandemic. The last year has been challenging, but with each step of the way, Coloradans have shown grit and perseverance. And now, as we are in the final stretch of this public health crisis, Governor Polis asks that we not lose focus now. 

The journey is not over, the race is not yet won.

Until the vaccine is widely available, we all need to continue to follow critical public health guidance. Prevention methods still include: 

  • Wearing a mask in public
  • Maintaining at least 6 feet physical distance from others not in our household
  • Avoiding large crowds
  • Washing our hands often
  • Staying home when we are sick

Stay safe and be well, Colorado.

Additional resources

Colorado Department of Agriculture | 305 Interlocken Pkwy, 305 Interlocken Pkwy, Broomfield, CO 80021

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.